Tesla Model 3’s Autopilot Saves The Day Avoiding Crash With Swerving Toyota

Opinions are divided as to whether drivers can rely unconditionally on Tesla’s Autopilot but one thing is certain: the self-driving tech is getting better.

The following dashcam footage is proof that leaving Autopilot on might not be such a bad idea after all, particularly on the highway where the driving experience is as rewarding as a punch in the face and drivers tend to lose focus more easily.

Speaking of losing focus, that’s exactly what the driver of a Toyota Corolla did just as a Tesla Model 3 was passing her by on the fast lane. We don’t know what the lady driver was doing at the time but her economy sedan swerved inexplicably to the left and entered the Tesla’s lane.

Also watch: Tesla Driver Nabbed Riding In Passenger Seat With Autopilot On

That prompted Autopilot to take a swift yet very effective avoidance maneuver. It all happened so fast that we doubt a human driver would have had the presence of spirit and quickness to avoid the crash. Thankfully, there was enough room between the Tesla and the median for Autopilot to use in order to avoid the Corolla sedan.

As the Model 3 owner wrote in the description of the video he uploaded on YouTube, Autopilot avoided “a potentially scary collision.” There’s no telling what the consequences might have been for the passengers of the Corolla and Model 3, not to mention other road users that happened to be near those cars at that particular moment.

Some of the commenters raised an interesting point: why doesn’t Tesla program Autopilot to honk the horn too in situations like these? In this case, we’re thinking the sound of the horn might have allowed the Corolla driver to regain control of the car more quickly.

 

  • That looks like a 2014-2016 Corolla that doesn’t have Toyota’s Safety Sense package that was added in the 2017 update. It includes pre-collison system w/pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and dynamic radar cruise control.

    • Bash

      Mr. Peterson! Good detective work.

    • Ken Lyns

      But not blind spot monitoring 😉

  • Momogg

    Well done Autopilot!

  • salamOOn

    every driver should be able to avoid that kind of collision, just like every drives should be 100 percent sure when trying to change the lanes.

    • Momogg

      Exactly. And my driving school teacher always told me : Check your blind spot by looking over your shoulder in the direction of the lane change. 😉

    • Stephen G

      Yeah, you’d think this shouldn’t be a problem. Dying in terrible car crash should be enough incentive to being careful. Maybe we’re making cars too safe?

      • Dude

        No, that’s ridiculous. Crash fatalities were the highest in the 60’s when cars were far less safe. Humans will never be perfect drivers so safer cars + autonomous systems is the best way to keep people safe.

        • Stephen G

          That is true. But a very convenient statistic. It doesn’t include the frequency of crashes. Even though population has probably doubled since 1960 I’m guessing that crash frequency has far exceeded that. Also you may have noticed that your go-to statistic is showing an upward trend the last three years even though cars are “safer” than they have ever been. UI driving and speeding make up about 80% of reasons in automobile fatality statistics, neither of which “safer” cars address at this time. If you have a habit of sticking your fingers in electrical sockets the answer is not safer electrical sockets. As a society we need to teach responsibility and respect instead of shifting blame to inanimate objects.

          • Dude

            Crash frequency has not increased. Deaths/population and per miles traveled (the most telling stat) has decreased since the late 60s, just like with total deaths. Yes, fatality frequency has increased recently, but there are many reasons for why this is happening and auto technology is not a culprit as it hasn’t changed much since the increase and the tech is only a factor in new cars which make up a very small percent of cars on the road.

            Government officials and advocates say that it’s lax enforcement of drunk driving, speeding, and seatbelt laws more than anything and the lack of new laws to curb them.
            States have actually been increasing speed limits and an increase of 5 mph is associated with an 8% increase in fatality risk.
            Distracted driving continually increases over time but this increase is relatively small as it coincides with changing the technology landscape (smartphone market is saturated. teen death rate is down even though death rate in general is up)
            An unsung factor is the improved economy. The death rate was so low because driving in general sharply decreased in 2008. Now that more people are driving for work, more are crashing.

            Also, (because I’m in full data analyst mode rn) of the 37,461 people killed in 2016, 3,450 (9%) fall under distracted driving and 10863 (~29%) were classified as speeding related according to the NHTSA. That’s far from 90%. 31% have no cause, 12.3% go to alcohol, and the other top reasons include veering into another lane, overcorrecting, reckless driving, swerving/avoiding, poor weather, and drowsy driving. Most of these don’t involve technology at all let alone infotainment technology.

            If you look at a graph of deaths/billion miles traveled, it looks like e^-x only instead of 0 it goes to about 1500 and it has been that way for a decade. This is very telling. Teaching responsibility is not going to cause a noteworthy change in that graph because people are fallible and there are many different reasons for crashes. This has become abundantly apparent to governments around the world. Only a fews days ago 40 countries decided to speed up the automation process and require AEB and all cars as soon as next year because it dramatically decreases crash rates.

          • Stephen G

            Again you are equating “fatalities” and “crashes”. They are totally different, yet related, statistics. Fallibility and responsibility are two different things. The Toyota driver didn’t “fail” to find the car keys, didn’t “fail” to start the car, didn’t “fail” to get on the freeway and didn’t “fail” to look before changing lanes. Those are all calculated actions. They chose to shirk their responsibly in accomplishing a particular task. I’m sure you’ll agree that denying this driver is unaware of the proper procedures for changing lanes would be ludicrous. “Safety” features enable irresponsibility. It’s also a shame that as a society we shirk our responsibility in granting the privilege of driving.

          • Dude

            Anyway… the numbers are from the NTSHA and USDoT. Jo Craven McGinty of the WSJ and Emily Delbridge, a Michigan insurance expert, wrote good articles on this.

    • Dude

      Should, but drivers generally don’t pay attention 100% of the time in either situation

  • badcyclist

    1. …why doesn’t Tesla program Autopilot to honk the horn too in situations like these?
    2. Why doesn’t Tesla program Autopilot to flip off the other driver and hurl obscenities over external loudspeakers?
    3. … and retaliate by speeding up and brake-checking the other car?

    Happy to help, Elon.

    Seriously, though– good job.

    • diesel_vdub

      4. … Why doesn’t Tesla add a laser or rocket launcher to eliminate the offending vehicle and the incompetent occupants?

  • Stephen G

    I’m not sure honking the horn is the right thing to do. A loud unexpected noise does little to get your mind on what you should be doing, rather it’s usually startling and may cause panic. Although every driver reacts differently.

    • brn

      I’ll disagree. When someone makes a move and hears a horn, a natural reaction is to quickly stop (or undo) what you’re doing.

      • Stephen G

        So your suggesting that the best thing to do is cause both drivers to jamb on their brakes and come to a screeching halt on a busy highway where traffic is traveling about 70mph? That’s called panicking and is what bad drivers do.

        • brn

          I’m not sure where you got that from my statement. If I’m in the process of changing from the right lane to the left lane and I hear a horn, my natural reaction is to stop moving into the left lane and probably return to the right lane. I would then reevaluate the situation.

          Most sane drivers would not jamb on their brakes.

          • Stephen G

            Your words…”a natural reaction is to quickly stop”

          • brn

            You misunderstood. “quickly stop what you’re doing”. That’s not the same as “quickly stop”.

          • Stephen G

            Same.

  • Alberto Barrales

    All I was focused in that video was the twin to my car (black Regal in right lane).
    Good save Tesla btw.

  • Stephen G

    The difference between crashes and fatalities is highly relevant. You are implying that 96% of crashes result in a fatality.

    • Dude

      There was a 4% difference in the change in the number crashes vs fatalities from 2015 to 2016. Fatalities increased something like 10% and crashes were up 14%

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